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Bills seek to look sharper in hosting Steelers

Associated Press Modified: August 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm •  Published: August 23, 2012
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A lack of consistency has raised questions as to how ready the Buffalo Bills are a little more than two weeks before the start of the season.

"We've got plenty to work on," coach Chan Gailey said. "We don't need to cancel any practices."

Gailey hasn't let his players off easy this week, especially with the starters set to get their most playing time of the preseason on Saturday when the Bills (No. 19 in the AP Pro32) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 7). It's the third preseason game, and one in which the starting units will have one last chance to work out the numerous kinks that have hampered them in two losses.

"We need to get better. We want to see improvement," said Gailey, who traditionally rests his starters in the fourth preseason game. "I don't know what that will show. It should show more production, but we have to get better."

His message applies to both sides of the ball.

The Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense has lacked both finish and efficiency.

In seven possessions through two games, the Bills' starting offense has totaled just 113 net yards, five first downs, a touchdown and a field goal. The running game has been anemic, having combined for 24 net yards, and the offensive line has been in flux as a result of injuries.

"This is the last big one for the starters to go out there and get everything fine-tuned before it counts," Fitzpatrick said. "This one, I would say, is important to us to get out there and play well."

The production's been little better on a retooled Mario Williams-led defense that's shown glimpses of its pass-rushing potential, but has also been susceptible to giving up big plays.

That was particularly apparent in a 36-14 loss at Minnesota last week, in which the Vikings starters racked up 166 yards offense, eight first downs and scored 10 points on three possessions. It could've been 13 points had Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh not hooked a 49-yard field goal attempt wide right.

The numbers overshadowed the success of Buffalo's pass rush, in which tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams each picked up a sack.

"I think we got some good pressure on them, but I was displeased with allowing the big plays," Gailey said. "We would get them in a hole, and let them out. And you can't do that to be a great defense, which I think we can be."

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